3D Crossword Solution – November 2022

November 2022 grid page

Clues and Grid by Shark

Theme: Discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen

The winner of the November puzzle is Robin Smith.

Review of the November 2022 3D crossword

Shark is a setter I don’t know personally, and I’m not sure where to find more Shark puzzles, though I know some have appeared in the Listener series… for which I haven’t had enough time recently (that’s my excuse). There was a relatively straightforward one in an earlier calendar and I imagined that this one – since the theme was striking us in the face, thanks to Graham Fox’s atmospheric picture and the centenary – was going to turn out similar. In fact it turned out to be one of the most challenging of the year; also (for me) one of the most enjoyable. I will certainly choose infested waters for a future cryptic dip.

The comment I wrote on my calendar page while solving was ‘this is an absolute beauty’. I have not changed my mind.

The pyramid grid – an anachronism we can surely forgive – worked really well. In the form Shark has chosen, it introduces some new characteristics and incidentally a very high proportion of active cells. The top layer gave way easily. The only typo I have yet seen in five years of these puzzles – a great achievement which future editors, whoever they might be, will do well to equal – was no block to the despatching of poor Maréchal Ney; and I do like that Hawaiian rock. The fascinating reformer AkHENaten (much more significant than his short-lived son) got back his erased place in history here also. It was perhaps on finding that lurking detail that I knew I was on to something special.

The second layer should have been straightforward also, but this solver took ages to find the solution to the very neat Pass the fish! and was wondering how exactly 9ac and 10to might work. TUDOR had very conveniently come up with a quite similar clue in a daily cryptic just before I solved this one – am I the only setter who hates it when that happens? – and therefore EGYPT was very tempting to enter at once: just couldn’t bring myself quite to do it. So Level 2 stayed unfilled for the moment. 

The fourth level was devised in such a way that some good variety in entry lengths was available. At this point may I say that, though in general practice I dislike bars, that did absolutely not apply to this puzzle, where they were (i) symmetrically placed, (ii) necessary and (iii) decorative! The colour scheme really helped as well, for which I suspect we must thank that vastly competent problem-solver Jolt.

ATHEISES was not hard to find, but didn’t fit. WORKABLE (once I had overcome my terror at seeing the word bank, which like fish, river and girl give so many variables that they make you want to give up) was good but didn’t fit either. The lovely BROCHETTE – thank you Frank Paul, the drawing with the calabrese – oh, all right, broccoli – and the collapsing teeth complemented the verbal clue and helped to find that one – and the complicated FOOTMAN (NAM + TOO reversed after F, plus an unusual definition for that word, which Shark must have been pleased to find) confirmed that the extra letter would have to go somewhere in the middle. ACIERATED and ATOM BOMBS had been among the first ones in. 

Now let us go back a few hours to my first impression on seeing the grid. I had thought ‘Well, if that had been me, I would have filled in the top level and made a central core light. Shark’s missed a trick’. Oh, no Shark didn’t. I had already thought ‘WORKABLE – WORK TABLE’ but when after a bit of thought TUT appeared down the centre, in the most robber-proof place, I wanted to echo the famous words of Mr H Carter – who spent much of his earlier life in a town not far from me. Is that unforgivable bathos? Swaffhamites won’t think so.

And now we come to the third level. U can be a difficult letter to handle, but making BOND into BOUND and TAPE into TAUPE was superb. Of course Shark had a little more flexibility here, since my other questions during solving were now in play: ‘Isn’t level 3 a bit short of crossers? Why are those letters barred off? What is there to help? Can the rubric tell me something?’ Then, on top of the TUT revelation, the 16-letter Easter Egg became clear. What a triumph! I think Shark’s plan, for the solver to win but only after a struggle, was perfectly judged. And putting that phrase round the perimeter did so many things: it justified the bars, gave additional crossers to KABBALA, SLEEKLY etc. which were otherwise slightly deficient, and showed again how it is possible to use every level of a 3D grid to convey the theme.

I congratulate every solver who managed to crack the secret of the pyramid without recourse to sacred geometry or dynamite. I hope that you had as much enjoyment from it as I did, and would wish to be associated in my thanks and congratulations to the composer. Now just avoid those mosquito-bites.


Grid solution

November 2022 grid solution

Visual clue

Half a bunch of broccoli followed by a mouthful of broken teeth gives us:


Drawing by Frank Paul

Clues and explanations

Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.

DaySolutionDirection, Clue, CountExplanation
1AAH5ac Expression of pleasure finding rock with height (3)AA H
2ACIERATED20aw Eradicate ground turned into alloy (9)ERADICATE*
3ALGA28up Moving opening of festivity results in a tangle? (4)[G->]AL[->]A
4ARVO5d Thematic lord embraces this time down under? (4)(carn)ARVO(n)
5ASSASSIN19a-cl Charlie and dope belonging to ice man (8)ASS ASS IN
6ATHEISES28to Earl has site ransacked and behaves in a godless manner(8)(E HAS SITE)*
7ATOM BOMBS27to Advance British soldier (expressing no surprise!) and special British troop around WMD (4,5)A (B MOB MOT)< S
8BOND16ac Chain sheds years off in slavery (4)BOND(age)
9BROCHETTE26ac Kebab almost preferable stuffed with seabird (9)BETTE(r) around ROCH
10CATACOMB*29a-cl Excavation from chap finding a deep valley (8)CAT A COMB
11CIGAR11ba Disastrous to return without the ultimate in abundant regalia? (5)(t)RAGIC<
12CITY18up Wisdom burying body of legend in Thebes? (4)(saga)CITY
13CURSE*11to Thematic result is specific, which incorporates opening of sarcophagus (5)CURE around S(arcophagus)
14DEER9ac Animal is audibly close (4)“DEAR”
15EDGE4d Scotch? Not with sharpness of mind (4)(w)EDGE
16EGYPT*8ba Unclued (5)
17EYES2d Sewer’s holes right underneath earth (4)YES after) E
18FOOTMAN15ba Joe’s war over following retreating soldier (7)(NAM TOO F)<
19GOBY10to Pass the fish! (4)GO-BY
20HEN6to Woman in the grip of thematic father (3)(ark)HEN(aten)
21HOLDALL13aw It contains room concealing ancient (7)HALL around OLD
22KABBALA*12aw Mystical tradition from king with a soul in ancient Egypt involved in brief theft (7)K A BA (inside) BLA(g)
23LECH30up Goat’s pasture cut short next to clubhouse (4)LECH(we)
24NEY3ba French marshall longing to retire (3)YEN<
25REMISSION22ac Take issue in respite (9)R EMISSION
26RETRACTS25a-cl Withdraws on the subject of leaflets (8)RE TRACTS
27SLEEKLY17ac Fly around ship reversing in a smooth way (7)SLY around KEEL<
28STEN21up Type of gun in existence (4)Hidden
29TAPE14aw Record bones that are uncovered (4)(s)TAPE(s)
30TUDOR7aw Stunning tour comprising dead Dynasty (5)TOUR* around D
31TWEEDLED23a-cl Fat character, without hesitation, whistled (8)TWEEDLED(um)
32WORE24up Altered the course of campaign over the radio (4)“WAR”
33WORKABLE24ba Turning over bank next to bleak ground is practical (8)ROW BLEAK*
34YEA1aw Brief period for voter (3)YEA(r)
Easter EggsTUTWhat was revealed
CARTERSurname of the person who made the revelation
EGYPTFirst place (5)
VALLEY OF THE KINGSSecond place (16)
TOMBThird place (4)

Solvers’ comments

Dig it! [GL]

I was sort of expecting this theme, but it was very nicely done — especially the pyramidical shape. Many thanks, Shark. Also thanks to the team for allowing second chances — I’d printed the grid in black and white, so thought the middle of the top of the pyramid was couloured rather than blanked and had to be filled. I had KTUT (a bit of a stretch, but he was a king!), EKE and AKE. [TH]

I was quite confused until I worked out where the empty cells were. This was a tricky puzzle with a nicely appropriate grid. Thanks! [NI]

Although we (well, my better half) got the theme early on, this was still hard work – the most difficult of this year’s so far. A couple of new words (ARVO and ATHEISES), however, so that’s all to the good. [CW]

Magnificent, and very difficult. Still not sure how gotby works, but it must. [RS]

I found this one of the most difficult puzzles so far this year, despite getting the theme quite early on. For once the picture clue was a great help! Thanks Shark for an entertaining and challenging puzzle. [RS]

Enjoyed this puzzle – particularly the trick with the central/missing letters. [RG]

Enjoyable and challenging as always. Thank you. May be back as not 100% on some. Depended on the hidden places for the last few letters. Good thing we had watched a documentary on the subject this week. [HH]

Some tough and unusual words here but I loved the whole puzzle! During my teaching career, my Ancient History students were always entirely enthralled when we shared the stories of the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb, and then the archaelogical project by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter. So solving this one was a real nostalgia trip for me. Thanks to Shark for many wonderful clues which explored the marvels and mysteries of Egyptology in such a fascinating way. I wasn’t sure how to enter the Easter Eggs so I am not really convinced that my solve will be acceptable. [JA]

An interesting theme and a challenging puzzle. I liked working out the missing letters in the grid but I was thrown by the coloured squares, thinking that the colour had to have a meaning even though this was not indicated in the instructions. That led me away from unravelling the Easter Eggs for some time! It is nice to have a meatier puzzle but some of the clues were a bit lateral – I still haven’t parsed 1 (rock = AA??) or Brochette (where does the H come from?) and thought 34 a bit weak. Hadn’t heard of Acierated, Alga meaning tangle, Tweedled meaning whistled and defy anyone to complete this without looking stuff up – e.g. Ak(HEN)aten, Egyptian soul in Kabbala and (for me) Arvo. But it was a pleasant morning working it all out. Thanks Shark. [JC]

I guessed the theme from the date and the rubric, but didn’t cotton to the shape of the diagram for some time. Some convoluted cluing; 18 still puzzles. [MJ]

An excellent design and construction, with some tough clues to make this a challenging puzzle in this year’s calendar. It was good to be reminded of this very interesting true story. [AB]

Lots of never-heard-of-in-that-context words and alternate spellings but all gettable from the wordplay so a great education. Thank you Shark. [SC]

The rubric is very unclear. [RC]

Interesting 3D with good range of clues (a number of which required quite a bit of research). [JP]

Deliciously intricate. Got and liked the picture clue. I don’t accept that war is a homonym of wore, though!! Nor that three can be counted as ‘several’! [EF]

Some difficult cluing, but this made it all the more enjoyable👌 Nice one😃 [MN]

A magnificent construction! It took some digging to find the buried treasure hidden in the dark recesses of the setter’s cryptic creation. Next, a sliding blocks puzzle? [J&JH]

My master sat up very late and did this ALL by himself. A smile on the face of the tiger. [RG]

Ingenious construction [PD]

Nigh impossible to solve, almost gave up! [SF]

I found this the most challenging puzzle so far this year, even though I identified the theme pretty much straight away. Frank’s picture clue made me chuckle. Many of Shark’s clues were tough but all were fair, thank you! [JT]

One of the hardest puzzles I’ve come across in the last 7 or 8 years of solving 3Ds. I very nearly gave up! [JB]

Enjoyed the theme very much, partly thanks to a lot of recent tv programmes also celebrating the anniversary. Was stuck on the third “geographical” location so thanks for the hints and tips. [HH]

Love this idea of sliding tiles back to reveal the dead centre——not so easy to solve. [AM]

Found this one very tricky! Lots of words new to me. But a satisfying challenge! [JG]

A brilliantly original puzzle, both in the anniversary theme and grid construction, and the TUT-related answers Shark was able to pack into this. The missing/intersecting letters had me scratching my head for a while. An ingenious (indeed genius) puzzle. [MS]

very clever puzzle, nice to see a slightly different, and apposite, 3d grid. [MD]

Enjoyed it. Took a while to realise the 3 empty cells – had the 3 answers inside each other almost from the start! [DM]

Wow – my first 3-D pyramid solve – just when you thought all the possible shapes had been used! (Could there have been a one-letter point at the top, maybe using the famous Spike Milligan example?…) Thanks to Shark for an enjoyable solve…a slow burn to the realisation of the contents of the pyramid, although maybe I should have anticipated them, given the shape and the photograph… [MC]

Very tricky rubric… Hints were invaluable! [DH]

A very tricky solve! Clever grid and some tough clueing. Thanks to all. [BS]

By some distance the hardest of the year so far. But there’s hard-and-fair and hard-and-what’s-happening-here-then? There’s a whole load of stuff that I just biffed in and await the explanation for. For the grid though, I’m full of respect – how Shark must have struggled to get all of this to work! [PA]

Found this extremely tricky despite being very interested in the subject matter. Thank goodness for the hints & tips this month explaining about the missing letters. Sending this in with trepidation! [DB&MJ]

This was a tricky puzzle worthy of its subject matter! Having been fortunate to visit Egypt a long time ago, I have always had an interest in King Tut and Egyptian civilisation, so did not have a problem with spotting the theme straight away. But some of the clues are definitely mystifying especially for the more obscure answers. [SB]

Dead. [RS]

Beautifully crafted grid and a lot of fun. [AR]

Interesting puzzle layout, clever how it all fits together. [AH]

One thought on “3D Crossword Solution – November 2022

  1. My first failure of the year. So annoying. I was sure I had gone wrong somewhere in the clues, as several of the parsings were way over my head. But no, my grid was fine. I had the final ‘place’ as EAST, which is sort-of in the grid if you make a diagonal jump, and King Tut was buried in the east of the Valley. Cursing myself now of course.

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